>Plus One: Three for One!

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Looking for Spare Change

Well, it looks like life over for most of today and so did my new friend Arthur. You may know Arthur, his last name is Itis. Arthur Itis. We went grocery shopping today at Super Wal Mart and it took a while longer than I had anticipated. With my wife recently adopting a healthier lifestyle, it’s very important to know what is in the food we buy. She read the labels on EVERY DAMN THING in the grocery department. It would have been faster to read War and Peace. I guess what I’m trying to say in a roundabout way is that I am tired and my buddy Arthur is killin’ me.
I have picked out some popular posts from the past for your perusal.

For our newer readers, it’ll give you a chance to catch up on what you’ve and for the Old Timers, maybe you can read something you missed the first time through. Thanks to you all for visiting and we’ll see you manana. Adios, y’all.

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>Remembering Our Fallen Heroes

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R.I.P.

>Texas Tidbits: The Shoe, A Horse Racing Legend

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>Since we are 2/3 of the way through the race for the Triple Crown of horse racing (which, by the way, will not be won by any horse this year), I thought it would be a good time to re-post this story about one of the greatest horsemen who ever lived.

  This story is a bit personal to me because I am related to the man that this article is about. At one time, he was one of the most famous men in the world and is still held in high esteem by any horseman worth his salt. the man’s name? William Lee Shoemaker. To some, he was Willie Shoemaker, to others, Bill Shoemaker and to  everybody else, he was simply “The Shoe”.
The Shoe came into this world fighting for life. On August 19, 1931, in Fabens, Texas, William Lee Shoemaker came into this veil of tears at a whopping 2.5 pounds. Willie was so small, he was put into a shoe box (ain’t that ironic? The Shoe in a shoe box) and put into an oven to keep him warm.  He was not expected to make it through the night , but somehow he did. And the world, particularly the horse racing world, was better for it. This would not be the only life or death fight Shoe would have in his life. He was almost killed twice on the race track and again after he retired from riding when he rolled a Ford Bronco over while driving while drunk, which left him paralyzed from the neck down. Through all this adversity, Willie Shoemaker never gave up and he never felt sorry for himself. He said, “You’ve got to play the hand you’re dealt, and I was dealt this one”. As one of his big rivals, Eddie Arcaro said, Shoe “is a tough son of bitch”.

As a full grown man, Willie Shoemaker stood a towering 4ft 11in tall and tipped the scales at 96 pounds. He was a small man in a world of small men. At the time he retired as a jockey, The Shoe had won a record 8833 races, won the Kentucky Derby four times, the Preakness twice and the Belmont Stakes five times and, surprisingly, never won the Triple Crown of horse racing. He rode over 40,000 mounts and won 1009 Stakes races and his mounts earned over $123 million.

His biography is very interesting and I just touched on a few points of his life in this post. If you’d like to learn more about Willie, bookmark this page or click on through. It’s a nice piece about a man whose legacy will live for a long time to those who knew him as The Shoe and to those of us who are proud to share a name with William Lee Shoemaker – the Little Man Who Came Up Big.

**Photo from si.com**

>Memorial Weekend Reading!

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>Here’s a Memorial Day Weekend of Good Stuff for You. Enjoy it and have a great weekend with friends and family!amily!

There’s some material that’ll keep you busy for a while. If you’d like to look up more, use the search box in the upper right part of each page. There’s a ton a material and it’s all good stuff.

>Colorado Chronicles: Buffalo Bill

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William Frederick Cody was born February 26, 1846 near LeClaire in the Iowa Territory, destined to become one of the most famous men of the American Wild West era. The Cody family moved to Leavenworth, Kansas when William was seven years old. It was there that the tales of adventure about the cowboys of the day captured young William’s heart and imagination. At age eleven when William’s father, Isaac, died leaving the Cody clan in desperate straits “he took a job with a freight carrier as a “boy extra,” riding up and down the length of a wagon train, delivering messages.” (Wikipedia). Three years later, Cody was hit with gold fever and decided to set out to strike it rich. Somewhere along the way he met an agent of the famed Pony Express and the gold fever subsided rather quickly when William was hired by the Express. He built several  Pony Express stations along the PE route and was rewarded with a job as a Pony Express Rider. After a stint as US Army Scout, Indian Fighter and buffalo hunter supplying meat to the Army and some other endeavors, Cody, now known as Buffalo  Bill, began producing and performing in Wild West Shows all over the world. Though highly rewarding and popular shows, the performances didn’t leave Buffalo Bill exactly a wealthy man as one would expect. Bad investments away from the Wild West Shows left Cody with little money to retire on, and though he was ready to call it a career, he kept on keeping on until his dieing day. In 1917, while visiting his sister in Denver, Buffalo Bill Cody died and was buried, per his last wishes, on Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado. His burial site is still a major tourist attraction for people passing along I-70, west of Denver. William Frederick Cody, truly an American original.

>Maine Minutiae: 248 Acres of Awesome

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With the onset of fall, I am looking back with great fondness on this year’s garden. I may be a bit early in doing so, but I am also looking forward to and am already tossing around ideas for 2011. I live in an apartment with my wife and kids, so I am limited as to exactly what I can do gardenwise, but I plow (pun intended) ahead by doing as much as I can without pissing off the Property Manager. And those you that know me know that I teeter right on the edge of “acceptable” and “don’t you dare”. Such is life. While time is short until first frost here in Maine, we still have time to enjoy the bounty before us and I know just the place to enjoy said bounty – the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. From mainegardens.org/  we learn of the humble beginnings of CMBG, “This magnificent and ambitious project began with a kernel of an idea generated by Rollins Hale of Boothbay Harbor. He and other mid-coast Maine residents who shared the belief that northern New England in general, and Maine in particular, were in need of a botanical garden founded the grassroots organization in 1991.” Sixteen years later, on June 13, 2007, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens became a dream come true. The Gardens now encompasses 248 acres, a 9500 square foot Visitors Center, a seasonal cafe and a gift shop, as well as a bevy of  blooming botanical beauties bound to bewilder you. The CMBG also serve as an educational experience, with information about natural history, botany, horticulture and the ecology of the area. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens can be reached here. CMBG is privately funded (as far as I can tell) and that alone is reason enough to label it as 248 acres of awesome.

*Photo from Downeast.com

>Texas Tidbits: A Visit from Pancho Villa

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Wow! Have we covered a ton of Texas History in the last couple of weeks or what? I kind of wanted to take a break from that for at least a few days to rest my brain. I thought today that we’d take a trip to Nowhere. And by Nowhere, I mean Brewster County located waaaaayyyyy out west, home to Big Bend National Park and the City of Alpine. My maternal Grandmother grew up in Alpine and she would sometimes talk about how life was when she was a child in the late teens and 1920s.

Grandmother once told me a story about a group of Mexican banditos who would occasionally come to her home when she was a little girl. This particular group of men was led by an hombre called Pancho. Pancho Villa. As I remember, she said that Pancho Villa and his men would come for food and water and stuff like that. I don’t remember the whole story, but I do remember her saying that Pancho and his men didn’t seem like a bunch of bad guys and he and his men treated my Grandmother’s family with respect. I’ll have to get in touch with my aunt (Grandmother’s youngest kid) and see if I can get more details of the story. Anyway, I thought that was the coolest thing when I was a little boy. Pancho Villa! At my Grandmother’s house! Wow!

I remember another story that she told me only one time and I never heard another word about it. Grandmother and her family were very devout Catholics, as am I and the rest of the maternal side of my family. The story involved men in white sheets burning a cross on Grandmother’s front yard when she was just a small child. Yup. The dickweeds of the KKK did it. Is it just me, or is it ironic that an outlaw like Pancho Villa treated her family with great respect and the “good guys” (excuse me while I go puke) of the Klan would do something as vile as a cross-burning in her front yard simply because they were Catholic? I can only imagine what that must have been like for a little girl to witness such a cowardly yet terrifying thing. Pardon me for a moment while I send a heartfelt, personal message to the boys in the KKK. FUCK YOU AND ROT IN HELL YOU PUSSIES! Other than that, have a nice day, assholes. 🙂 END OF PERSONAL MESSAGE TO THE KLAN. There. I feel better.

My intent when I decided to write about Brewster County was to actually write about Brewster County, but I got so into the stories my Grandmother told me when I was a kid that it kinda veered off in that direction. I was and still am very proud of my Grandmother. She is probably the toughest human being I have ever met, and I have met some dandies, trust me. She was about 5 foot nothin’ and about 90 pounds soaking wet and tough as an acre of snakes. I have some more stories from her that I could tell you about but let’s save that for another time.

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